| ||Messiah Lutheran Church||
6201 W Patterson Av
Chicago IL 60634
The Greek word for slave, doulos, is found in the New Testament 130 times, and if you take into account its additional forms, 150 times. In a related sense, the term "Jesus is Lord" is used 747 times in the New Testament and 92 times alone in the Book of Acts.
But being a slave of the Lord Jesus isn't as horrible as you might think. Instead, being a slave of the Jesus is a high honor and privilege. For as Christians we've been set free from the cruel masters of sin, death and the devil, only to be given a new and loving master in Jesus Christ. As 1 Corinthians 6:20 tell us, "You are not your own, you were brought at a price".
Can you imagine being auctioned off as a slave to the highest bidder, wondering what kind of master you'd end up with? Well, thank God, in the auction block of life, our Lord Jesus has purchased us with his shed blood on the cross and made us his own. In fact, we have a master who loves us so much he even calls us his friend. As he says in John 16:15 tells us, "I don't call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn't know what his master is doing. But I've called you friends because I've told you everything I heard from My Father".
In biblical times, a slave owner was completely responsible for taking care of all the areas of life of his slave. Consequently, if your slave owner happened to be very wealthy, you would reap the benefits of being one of his subjects. And just think what a blessing to be the slave of such the wealthiest and most generous master of all in Jesus!
In addition, slaves in biblical times could even be given positions of power, as agents of their owners. And so the Sovereign Lord has entrusted us with message of the Gospel to be His change-agents in this fallen world.
According to Levitical law, when a slave loved his master so much that they wanted to be his slave for life, they would take an awl and pierce their ear on the door of the master's house. The pierced ear symbolized that his ears would be used to listen and obey his master's orders, and the location of the piercing symbolized that the door of his heart would always be open to the wishes of his master.
And while we don't have to go through such a routine today to symbolize our slavery to our Lord, how much more should our ears be symbolically "pierced", so that we might hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow it? How much more should the blood shed on the cross be applied to the door of our hearts, so that our hearts are at one with our Master?
Because we love our Master for what He has done for us through His sacrificial death on the cross, we voluntary become His slaves, who have the same heart and will of our master. This is why the apostle Paul was able to say that he was willing to become a slave to others, in addition to his Lord "Although I am free from all people, I made myself a slave of all of them to win more of them" (1 Corinthians 9: 19). For as a slave of Jesus, he knew that the greatest desire of His Master was that all would be saved, Bet free from the cruel masters of sin, death and the devil, and be under new ownership to the most loving and gracious Master of all! As voluntary slaves under the of (Jesus, we too are to be slaves to others, so that our Lord's greatest desire might be accomplished, namely the salvation of others.
Knowing the heart of our Master, it ought to compel us to say with Paul, "woe to me, if I don't tell the Good news!" (1 Corinthians 9:16). Woe to Messiah, if we as a church are not about our Master's business of telling the Good News! Woe to us as individuals if we aren't setting the captives free by sharing the Good News! Woe to us, if we fail to fulfill our Master's desire!
Jesus acquired St. Paul as his slave while he was on the road to Damascus. On your own personal road to Damascus, when you first received the Gospel, you likewise have been purchased with his blood, as his slave! As Luther's Small Catechism says, Jesus Christ " ... has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with his holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death, that I may be his own and live under him in his kingdom and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as he is risen from the dead, lives, and reigns to all eternity". As St. Paul was called to tell God's good news (cf. Romans 1:1), so our Master has called us to do the same!
In the auction of life, our Master has purchased us with his blood, and made us his own. He has taken us, who have been battered and scarred by the cruel masters of this world, and transformed into His workmanship, created for Good Works in Him. Contrary to what our sinful flesh may have us believe, being a slave of Jesus is the true pathway to true Greatness: "But among you it's different. Anyone who wants to become great among you let him be your servant" (Matthew 20:26).
May the members and friends of Messiah fully grasp the high privilege of being a slave of Jesus, as together we fulfill our Master's will in sharing the Gospel with others!!!
In His Mission,
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